Software glitch disrupts upgrade of arms licences in Punjab
Bathinda Due to a software error, scores of arms licence holders across the state, particularly defence personnel, are being denied the facility of upgrade of their personal weapon permits to the All-India level. Residents who applied before September 16, 2019, are unable to get their valid licences processed for All-India authorisation. The new software, e-Sewa, has no option to upgrade an arms license to All-India permit. This is inconveniencing scores of applicants.
As per rules, security personnel with the Central forces, including those in the army, the air force and the paramilitary, are entitled to get a pan-India weapon permit from the licensing authorities in their respective districts. Bathinda, Ferozepur and Fazilka districts have regular stations of the army and other central forces. In the first phase, an applicant gets a licence for the state and it is gradually upgraded to an All-India permit. Defence personnel get the All-India permission automatically due to their pan-India postings, but this is not being reflected on record now due to the snag.
According to a serving senior army official, he has made several visits to the district officials in the last four months to upgrade his pistol licence to no avail. “I have to relocate soon due to a professional assignment. This error in the licence process is a security risk for me, as I cannot keep it beyond Punjab.”
An army jawan whose retirement is nearing has planned to join a private security agency. “For post-retirement employment, I am relying upon an All-India permit for my weapon. Officials, however, have expressed their inability to do this,” he said.
Sukhpreet Singh Sidhu, additional deputy commissioner (general), the ex-officio arms licencing authority for Bathinda, admits to error in the software, saying that the software was allowing All-India permits only to fresh applicants. “We are getting complaints from several defence personnel, I have alerted the department of governance reforms and the issue would be resolved soon,” says the ADC.
Defence personnel have complained as software is allowing All-India permits only to fresh applicants. The issue will be resolved soon.
Sidhu, ADC (general)